Gabi Delgado – Farewell to a shining star

Gabi Delgado: “Nimm dir was du willst“

Gabi Delgado, Córdoba in the spring of 2015. (Photo: Thomas Venker)

Me still processing the surreal appearing news of the death of this enigmatic magician Gabi Delgado. I met Gabi for real real only as late as in 2015 when Carsten Stricker from Verstärker promotion connected us. Gabi wanted a biograhy for his back then new album „2“, the idea was to bring in multiple storylines – and he had so many inside him, from only sleeping every second night to pension fonds for his community in Córdoba over creative use of facebook groups and of course all those stories about legendary DAF recording sessions, mystic music history domino effects, legendary artists who he joined forces with and last but not least all those crazy ideas how to deconstruct and remodel art in general and music in special with modern tools, like playstation music, or adapting wicked music styles from South America and Africa, or or or….

Gabi Delgado was so many things, he was warmhearded, he was funny, he was hyper intelligent – and he was till the very last day on the search for new inspiration and new people, curious and enthusiastic like a young boy to experience the endless mystery of the world with like minded.

Even tho his late productions never reached the golden touch of early DAF stuff, one will still find so many jewels, alone the titles speak by themselves and with that funny and anarchic and wild and gentle moves with which Gabi created his art:
„Hausarrest“, „Gott is tot“, „Begrüßungsgeld“, „Musik“, „Die Liebe“, „Untergrund“,„Zerstör die Disco“,„Tanzen“….

I might not be unbiased her, but to me Gabi Delgado is the best german lyricist. Just spend a day with his works and you know what I mean.

Gabi Delgado, Córdoba in the spring of 2015

Schön und jung und stark / Schön und jung und stark / Du bist schön und jung und stark / Nimm dir was du willst / Nimm dir was du willst / Solang du nur noch kannst / Verschwende deine Jugend / Verschwende deine Jugend / Schön und jung und stark / Schön und jung und stark / Nimm dir was du willst / Tu was du willst / Tu was du willst
(DAF, „Verschwendet deine Jugend“)

Kebab-Träume in der Mauerstadt / Türk-Kültür hinter Stacheldraht / Neu-Izmir ist in der DDR
Atatürk, der neue Herr / Miliyet für die Sowjet-Union / In jeder Imbißstube, ein Spion / Im ZK, Agent aus Türkei / Deutschland, Deutschland, alles ist vorbei!
(DAF, „Kebabträume“)

Ein schöner junger Prinz / Verirrte sich im Wald’ / Da packten ihn die Räuber / Doch einer von den Räubern / Liebte diesen Prinzen
(DAF, „Der Räuber und der Prinz“)

Küss’ mich / Küss’ mich / Bitte tu so / Als wär’s das letzte Mal / So viel, wie du kannst / So viel, wie du kannst / Gib mir / So viel, wie du kannst
(DAF, „Als Wär’s Das Letzte Mal”)

For the biography talk Gabi invited me to Córdoba to visit him at home and by that understand where he originally came from, what formed his very stubborn and sensitive and powerful attitude and identity. Like so many people who felt pain and angst in their youth he came out strong from this path of life, but still fragile – and Gabi was never too shy to show this abyss of despair behind his naughty Punk habits.

That night we talked for hours, first on top of the hotel he had booked for me in mid town, then in his favorite restaurant and later on during  a night walk through the town where he showed me his house of birth, the former house of his grand mother.
Pretty early in our talks I asked him if he mind me also video filming our conversations out of my hand to double use the material, for his biography but also for my new established Kaput magazine. He loved both things, kaput and the subtitle „insolvency & pop“ , but I think he loved even more me filming out of my shacky left hand while drinking and eating and talking with him and not really caring about the possible imperfection of the recordings as we both know the essence of everything has nothing to do with clean cut rules of how to do things anyway.


The next morning Gabi insisted after much too less sleep to still continue our talks and bring me back to the train to Malaga  – and I only accepted cause he plausibly had made clear during the night to me that he only sleeps every second night anyway as he does not need so much sleep.

One year later, when Gabi ended up cooking and drinking and talking at my place in Cologne with Sarah and me the night before a DAF performance in town, he finally admitted in the early morning hours that he now needs some sleep before the gig.
Of course I had to think of this Lester Banks story about Kraftwerk, when in the end they stop the interview to retire in their hotel room and he finish his article by saying, „it was somehow comforting to know that they did, apparently, sleep.“
Those moments of fibing around were also a big part of Gabis nature, he lovey to play tricks with the minds of the people, not in any sense of lying to them, or not telling the truth, these were little games and rituals of social exchange he loved to constuct, just like the Situationist did, and coming in with this very special smile.

“Para Sarah”

When I was something like 15, 16 I used to go every week to this Wave club in Stuttgart, and at one point for sure in the night the dj played „Der Mussolini“, and as often as we heard it, still each time suddenly the whole club uplifted on another level of ecstasy.

Geh in die Knie / Und klatsch in die Hände / Beweg deine Hüften / Und tanz den Mussolini / Tanz den Mussolini / Tanz den Mussolini / Dreh dich nach rechts / Und klatsch in die Hände / Und mach den Adolf Hitler / Tanz den Adolf Hitler / Tanz den Adolf Hitler / Tanz den Adolf Hitler / Und jetzt den Mussolini / Beweg deinen Hintern / Beweg deinen Hintern / Klatsch in die Hände / Tanz den Jesus Christus / Tanz den Jesus Christus / Tanz den Jesus Christus / Geh in die Knie / Und dreh dich nach rechts / Und dreh dich nach links / Klatsch in die Hände
(DAF, „Als Wär’s Das Letzte Mal“)

The last time I saw Gabi was in the summer of 2018, Jennifer Cardini included DAF in her Nuits Sonores programming and I moderated the next day a panel with Jennifer, Robert and Gabi on the topic of ”wasted youth”, a topic all three of them had lots to say to, not only from their first hand experiences, also with a higher state of emotional and rhetoric reflection.
I quoted some parts of this panel for a text I write for Zurich club Zukunft about Jennifer.

The next morning we shared a coffee in front of the hotel and he invited Sarah and me to Portugal, where he just relocated for a change of climate. But somehow this never worked out in the end cause we missed to prioritise our schedules.

The ever young punk Gabi Delgado, he will forever have a special place in my heart. There are not many like him out there, a true wild creatures of art with a big love for his fellow humans and the mystery of life.

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